In case you were busy stirring up debate, here's what you missed in sports last weekend.
- LeBron James was a near unanimous choice for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, securing 120 of the 121 available votes. About Last Night is all about starting debate, not shying away from controversy, and being real with the audience, so we salute the brave soul who decided that Carmelo Anthony had a better season than LeBron James. Unfortunately, that voter, who remains anonymous as of press time, didn't go far enough, placing James second on his ballot. That's no way to start a real debate about value in the NBA! For those interested in engaging in the debate, the official ALN MVP ballot (which was submitted to the NBA in the hopes that they would include it, though ALN is, despite much public pressure, still denied a vote) will be revealed at the end of this column.
- The Chicago Bulls, again playing without Luol Deng, who was suffering the aftereffects of a spinal-tap procedure gone awry, still managed to close out the Brooklyn Nets, 99-93, to set up a second-round matchup with the Miami Heat. Now I know a lot of people in Chicago are up in arms about whether Deng and Derrick Rose should be playing at less than 100 percent. Here's my thing: I don't think any Chicago Bulls should be playing. Carlos Boozer's steadfast refusal to sit out games is an affront to sports, and he should not be allowed to continue any longer.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins took a 2-1 series lead over the New York Islanders with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 3. Now I know there's a lot of talk about where the best places for hockey teams are, and I don't want to be too controversial, but does Pittsburgh really need a hockey team? Here's a city that's already won Stanley Cups with great players. Why not share the wealth, and move the team to Hamilton or Seattle? Gary Bettman, it's time to step up to the metaphorical plate.
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. remained undefeated after a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero. All three judges scored the fight 117-111. Now I know a lot of people want to crown Mayweather the best boxer out there, but let's face it: I have four inches and 40 pounds on the guy. Can the best boxer in the world really be smaller than a blogger? Come on over to my house, Floyd, and let's see who can defense their way to a win outside of the friendly confines of Las Vegas.
- The Indiana Pacers took Game 1 of their series against the New York Knicks, 102-95, at Madison Square Garden. Now, I feel like I'm the only person out here willing to tackle the big issues in sports, but are we actually going to let the New York Knicks lose at home in the playoffs? At the Madison Square Garden? I'm sorry; I thought that New York was the greatest city in the world. Is that true if their basketball team can lose to the Pacers of Indiana? David Stern, time to step up and step in.
- The San Francisco Giants heaped more misery on the underachieving Dodgers, sweeping their rivals with a 4-3 win on Sunday. Now I don't want to push too many buttons out there in computer land, but here's my question: Can the Giants do it in the postseason? Sure, they've won two World Series in three years, but have they done it by going through the Los Angeles Dodgers? They have not. And are they really champions until they do?
- Orb outraced a massive 19-horse field at Churchill Downs Saturday to win the 139th Kentucky Derby. Now, I hope I'm not stirring the pot too much when I suggest it's a little suspicious that the year after the HBO show Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman, was taken off the air for being a danger to horses, a horse named after the film Sphere, also starring Dustin Hoffman, wins the run for the roses. Jockey-sized Dustin Hoffman? Let's wake up, sports fans.
- Chelsea got a crucial win in the race for Champions League placement with a 1-0 victory over Premier League leaders Manchester United. Now, I don't want to start too much debate here, but I'm of the opinion that people from the British Isles should no longer be allowed to immigrate to the United States. I can't be the only one out there who isn't totally comfortable with how the War of 1812 "ended," can I? Nice try, Wayne Rooney.
- Kevin Durant scored 35 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder grabbed Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal against the Memphis Grizzlies, 93-91. Now there's a lot of debate about who the best brothers in the NBA are, and a lot of people go with Marc and Pau Gasol. Not me, though. For my money, you have to go with the Durants: Kevin and Durant, a hybrid bug/steel Pokémon. That's right. I'm taking the Thunder star and a six-legged, ant-shaped Pokémon with a gray body, black legs, and steel pincers. You can have your Spanish twin towers, but do you really think they'll be able to out-rebound a steel-plated, six-legged super ant?
- Front Row Motorsports' David Ragan upset a star-studded field at Talladega to take home the Aaron's 499. Now I don't want to push the envelope too far, but shouldn't the film Talladega Nights have been a documentary about actual races at Talladega? Why would you name a film after a real thing if you're then going to make up a whole fiction around that thing? That Talladega Nights was named after a real racetrack and a real time of day cost it the Academy Award.
- Now, as promised, the About Last Night official NBA MVP ballot:
3. Kevin Durant
4. Nets (physical, not Brooklyn)
Honorable Mentions: Gregg Popovich's DNPs, Chris Paul, the Elbow, J.J. Redick, LeBron James.